Herpes Simplex, commonly known as “cold sores” or “fever blisters”, may appear once or be recurring. It’s caused by the Herpes Hominis virus.
What is Herpes Simplex?
Herpes Simplex begins as a group of small red bumps that blister. Often there is itching or discomfort before the bumps appear, known as the prodrome. The blisters begin to dry up after a few days and form yellow crusts. The crusts gradually fall off and leave slow fading red areas. The whole process takes about 10 – 14 days. No scars form.
These mild symptoms are typical of recurring Herpes Simplex. The very first infection with the Herpes virus usually happens in childhood. It may go unrecognized, but it often causes fever, general illness, and local soreness. Once you’ve had a Herpes Simplex infection, the virus becomes permanently established in your nerve tissue. Recurring Herpes lesions result from re-activation of this virus.
What triggers a Herpes Simplex outbreak?
Fever and sun exposure are the most common factors triggering the Herpes Simplex virus. That’s when cold sores or fever blisters break out. However, it is not uncommon for there to be no triggering factor; the virus can become activated without any apparent reason. Herpes Simplex is treated by Dr. Green for patients in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland regions.
Is Herpes Simplex contagious?
Like most other viruses, Herpes Simplex is contagious to people who have never had the infection before. Close contact such as kissing is necessary to transmit the infection.
Genital Herpes is usually spread through sexual intercourse and is essentially a disease of adults. It’s also contagious when in the active stages. Recurring Herpes is not a re-infection, but activation of a virus present in a quiet form in nerve tissue.
How is Herpes Simplex treated?
Herpes Simplex infections are treated with an antiviral medicine. This helps accelerate the healing process, in addition to possibly preventing recurrences. Dr. Green will prescribe a cream to make you more comfortable if you have uncomfortable symptoms.
Recurring Herpes is usually only an uncomfortable nuisance. One exception is Herpes of the eye. Since it may lead to eye damage, you should see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) immediately. Fortunately, eye involvement is rare with Herpes Simplex. Herpes Simplex around the eye is not dangerous unless it involves the eyeball.